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Matariki celebration for our part of the world

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

Over three days in June volunteers and Raukūmara Pae Maunga kaimahi, established a rongoa maara with two thousand five hundred trees and plants in a wetland across the road from Pokai marae.

Some of the kaimahi on the day

Raukūmara Pae Maunga kaimahi helped prepare the site and started some of the plantings. By the end of the day, with the help of local volunteers, all the dead gorse looked beautiful with native seedlings mass planted through it.

This area is a semi coastal wetland and houses the lone surviving kahikatea remnant in the lower reaches of the Waiapu awa flood plain.

Repo and area where cows used to roam

“This is one of the local hapu's oldest and most important puna wai,” says Graeme Atkins who helped coordinate the plantings. “The kahikatea are the oldest living beings in Tikapa. They deserve better care and respect.”

Back in the day as a young and energetic six-year-old Graeme and his relatives of a similar age had to bucket water from the puna wai up the hill over the fence across the road to their marae for cooking, washing dishes and bathing. They had several coppers heating water, all going at the same time, and they used to transfer water backwards and forwards numerous times.

“Our little marae was very humble back then with few modern conveniences especially a decent water tank,” says Graeme. “We all hated bucketing water up to our marae especially in the dark. But a couple of stripes with the belt provided the necessary motivation to banish all kēhua and zombies from your mind. Our greatest day was when we were blessed with big water tanks.”

Successful plantings

Ka nui te aroha to all those who helped

Thank you to Brendan Shivnan from RaKiwi and 20+ UMF honey, who supplied most of the trees and plants. Len Atkins and his business Tikapa Organics also supplied two hundred kahikatea trees for the wetland. Much love to all the volunteers, tamariki and our Raukūmara Pae Maunga kaimahi.

This was huge mahi aimed at restoring our puna wai and repo and will be another resource for future generations.

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